Entertainment at it's peak. The news is by your side.

ADHD tech stack: auto time tracking to get actionable feedback, not guilt


What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I want to repeat it to him who asks, I raise out not know. — Augustine of Hippo

Although I even dangle studied physics, time remains a thriller to me. I know I will be able to not attend track of time. I need some roughly “prosthetics” for my each day functioning, to even remotely shield heading in the right direction. It’s why, since I used to be 15 or so, I always wear a detect (no, a smartphone in my pocket just isn’t ample). If I don’t dangle a detect, I genuinely feel at a loss for phrases.

And how about work? Freelancing is astronomical and supplies me the freedom and suppleness I need. On the opposite hand, it comes as a label of the dearth of external building, to get work started and attend it heading in the right direction. In most cases all it takes checking a single (and connected!) hyperlink, and 2h are long gone (after a rabbit hole dive).

Image for post

Image for post

Tweet by @tricina. “True issue organized and attend your routine” does itsy-bitsy except instilling guilt.

There are a pair of easy things:

  • my detect (Fitbit, motivates me to stroll more and sleep more; ample to price as soon as per week),
  • Google calendar (occasion not there = occasion would not exist),
  • alarms for the entirety (I must prepare for a assembly within the night? I establish of dwelling an dread).

Let me portion what helped me with self-spying, that’s to reveal — time tracking. I need two things:

  • computerized time tracking (can not require extra actions from my side)
  • real-time feedback on the inform

I will be able to not overemphasize the latter. If I get a summary after per week, or even — at the discontinuance of a day, this can guilt-outing me (at which I excel), nevertheless it obtained’t be gracious. I’ll blame myself and attend on slacking/sinning.

What I need is an always-searching at deity that furthermore supplies prompt feedback. (“There could be not this form of thing as a ADHD by methodology of video video games.” — we strive on quick, purpose& actionable feedback!)

Qbserve (macOS)

I had my on-and-offs with many pieces of instrument. Except I saw Qbserve:

Image for post

Image for post

Working on my own (left), then started co-working with my splendid friend, Kasia moral).

What’s even more critical, is the always-searching at-dice within the taskbar, exhibiting my productivity rating (the one with 6%):

Image for post

Image for post

It appears to be like to be like so itsy-bitsy, nevertheless for me, it used to be a sport-changer:

  • it is power and would not require anything else to click on it,
  • as soon as I must compare my stats, they’re one click on away.

After I gaze it is lowish, I am motivated to begin working, when it is high — motivated to continue (for reference, 6% is terribly low; nevertheless I didn’t inform this computer for work the given day).

RescueTime + Custom Fresh URL Tab

On the opposite hand, in Dec 2019 I brought a brand contemporary computer, this time with Windows. To my shock, it used to be easy to position of abode up a dev environment (Anaconda, Node, and VSCode work practically the same). One other convey began to be a convey: the finest technique to be productive, since I will be able to not inform Qbserve AND a extremely positive graphics card has diversified compatible uses than deep learning? I put in RescueTime.

Image for post

Image for post

The default scrutinize of RescueTime. For me, it is just too worthy and too itsy-bitsy files at the same time.

It tracks fairly neatly nevertheless misses one core characteristic — real-time feedback. That is, I know I will be able to gaze reports at wish, nevertheless I would esteem to get frequent feedback. It’s far going to not be conditional on my consciously checking it.

I searched for extensions in articulate that I would gaze it on the taskbar, nevertheless to no avail. On the opposite hand, then it clicked. I ancient some extensions to motivate myself with contemporary tabs: Mortality Fresh Tab (more on that within the “extra”) or a less morbid one: Momentum. Why not surroundings a brand contemporary tab to RescueTime straight?

So, I put in Custom Fresh URL Tab Chrome extension and establish of dwelling it to

Now whenever I delivery a brand contemporary tab (which I raise out your total time) I get a reality compare. I roughly know the diagram I procrastinate a given day, so I don’t need a summary of it. A summary of time is gracious, although. A little gift: the default scrutinize is at

ActivityWatch + Custom Fresh URL Tab

Whereas you occur to imagine that I underestimate the federal government vitality to sabotage me, you underestimate my skill to self-sabotage myself. On the opposite hand, whereas you make a selection an delivery-provide (and diagram more privateness-focused) different, there’s ActivityWatch, that would per chance presumably work with the same URL tab redirect, this http://localhost: 5600/#/timeline

Image for post

Image for post

The interface is a itsy-bitsy bit less polished (and, unfortunately, I skills a prolong between opening it and getting a chart), nevertheless the tracking works. Since it is in Vue I esteem, one day I would per chance presumably modify it to my wants.


There could be one, very current, plugin I inform on all machines: Scheme, I realized from an HN thread. (I ancient it on top of Qbserve / Rescue Time, not as a exchange of it!) It handiest works for tabs, nevertheless since it is my most critical provide of distractions (“factual one more video”, “factual one more direct”, and masses others), it matters.

Image for post

Image for post

I establish of dwelling it for Fb, Reddit, Hacker News, and Youtube. Assorted sites must not a mission.

Breaks are valuable. My most positive times had been ones the establish I:

  • labored exhausting on a single mission,
  • took intensive nevertheless time-restricted breaks.

The handiest time ever used to be in high college whereas writing a mathematical paper and taking breaks with a Timeshock sport (a pinboard, no storyline). Everyone is aware of that no breaks is gruesome:

Image for post

Image for post

You better clutch breaks., or discontinuance up as in The Shining.

The problem is as soon as I drift, and as a exchange of a refreshing 15 min, it is a 2h rabbit hole lag, eating not handiest my time nevertheless furthermore attention. But most of the present instrument would not address that.

  • I inform social media after midnight, and it would not discontinuance me then nevertheless cuts the realm restrict for the following day.
  • There could be a harmful shock when an app kicks me out, with out a warning. It’s far so detestable (in particular as soon as I am within the guts of writing a protracted direct) that it could per chance even rapid be to uninstall it.
  • Too strict limits. In most cases I know that a given day I need more social media.

With Scheme I:

  • know the diagram worthy of my time is spent on distractions,
  • clutch how worthy time I need,
  • I gaze the countdown (so I know if I must wrap-up a answer, or if it makes sense to begin writing a brand contemporary one),
  • it mechanically blocks these sites,
  • yet, it distinguishes between “same old inform” of YouTube and e.g. using it for developing a workshop on deep learning (shopping for video summary of current papers).

I inform Toggl for time tracking for initiatives as soon as I am paid by the hour (minority). I tried to inform it for diversified initiatives, and in most cases it makes it more uncomplicated to shield heading in the right direction. On the opposite hand, I usually forgot to change it on.

There are a pair of plugins (e.g. ColdTurkey) which would be “too nuclear”. Being halted within the guts of writing a answer (on Fb or Hacker News), with out a prior warning, left me panicked. Even worse, as soon as I ancient it for my WORK stuff, in knowledge science or Quantum Sport.

I even dangle my on-and-offs with Pomodoro, nevertheless it would not work on a consistent basis, at the least — not when self-utilized. There used to be not a single app I used to be in a region to inform more for bigger than a pair of days. In most cases, I had a mission with starting or restarting. Pomodoro labored when any individual else used to be controlling time (or we took turns, and I knew others depended on that as neatly), nevertheless not for solo work.

Aspect gift: why raise out ALL time-tracking pieces of instrument buy that the day starts within the lifeless of night? (Center of the night would not appear to be anyplace discontinuance to to the well-liked of sleep time.)

I’m hoping it impressed you rather to trace time. If it impressed you, astronomical — no matter whereas you dangle ADHD or not. Unnecessary to reveal, it is up to you what you clutch into myth a valuable time, and what a distraction. We dangle got to admit that inventive work rather worthy wants a stability between random pursuits and inspirations, and focal point to get one thing executed. Furthermore, rest is one thing diversified than a distraction. Whereas I procrastinate a lot I am slowly learning the finest technique to rest (e.g. a modern opinion of having a day a wee

To invent it positive, such time-tracking helped me nevertheless is worthy for solving my considerations. Unlike the matter of dating, the establish I went from clueless to rather competent, by methodology of time group I went from clueless to a itsy-bitsy bit less clueless.

Whereas you occur to fight with time group, I suggest ADHD Youtube channel and Pushed to Distraction: Recognizing and Going by Attention Deficit Disorder book by Edward Hallowell & John Ratey. The term “prosthetic” comes from their book, in which they assessment ADHD to be short-sighted. Sporting glasses or lenses is an appropriate resolution, and folks must not pushed to “factual squint their eyes tougher”.

I thank Wojciech Jabłoński for bugging me to write down it to write down “ADHD tech stack”; thanks Anna Karpiuk and Sarah Martin, for remarks on the draft. It started as a Hacker News direct.

If there’s a necessity, I am relaxed to write down on my TODO checklist with Evernote. I win it more valuable than traditional TODO apps, as it is more within the road of the Bullet Journal: if I don’t raise out a job, it is long gone until I clutch a aware effort to write down it down all as soon as more.

Extra: Mortality Fresh Tab

A discontinuance splendid friend of mine showed me his inform, with a rectangle within the background.

Image for post

Image for post

Size can fluctuate by display disguise disguise dimension. Long-established right here.

Asked me whether it is astronomical. I acknowledged it is little.

Correctly, it is 365 x 100 pixels, and there must not as many days for your existence. Take into myth each day, and whereas you use it in a technique that matters.

My desktop is cluttered, so I rarely ever gaze it. But for a pair of years I even dangle been seeing with each contemporary tab (Mortality — Fresh Tab):

Image for post

Image for post

Day to day it appears to be like to be like a itsy-bitsy bit diversified.

It’s far a latest-day “memento mori”. Pretty satirically, it motivated me to dwell to the fullest. With each contemporary tab, I asked myself “Is opening this web establish the finest convey I will be able to raise out with this portion of time?”. It didn’t attend me for leisure; it held me from making time waddle by my fingers, unintentionally.

Read More

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.